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Hoping for a rebuild, praying for a return to greatness

FSU Football fun fact: Mike Norvell had a better winning percentage as a head coach than Bobby Bowden did when he took the job at FSU. Skeptical? Let’s do the math.

Norvell was 38-15 at Memphis (71.7%), while Bowden had a 42-26 record (69.52) coaching at Howard and West Virginia. (Full disclosure: That’s not counting Bobby’s 22-11 record at South Georgia Junior College in the 1950s.)

Does that winning percentage parity suggest Norvell will have similar success leading the Seminoles? Hardly. It’s 45 years later and a different era in college football. But if Mike can overhaul a struggling program he’ll be well on his way. 

The latest episode of the Garnet & Great podcast welcomes Kurt Unglaub, a sticky-fingered receiver from FSU’s dramatic turnaround in the 70s. As one of Bowden’s first recruits, Kurt saw firsthand what the legendary coach did to resurrect Florida State football. And lately, Kurt’s been inside the locker room and on the field to observe how Norvell is rebooting the program. Listen to how he compares their efforts.

For a deeper dive into Bobby Bowden’s herculean rebuild beginning in 1976 — a Hail Mary hire by the school after FSU went 4-29 the previous three years — here’s an earlier episode with Kurt. This one recorded in 2008, when the memories were no doubt fresher in mind.